Well...Here's a trick to treat your tortured nerves.
It was always a surprise each time he did it. The straight-line electric burn as the blade shocked its way through the skin and into the meaty pulp just beneath the surface. This always triggered the sequence of stinging pain and then the pulsing rhythmic throb as the blood pumped from the straightedge wound and welled to pool then drip in the same rhythm from his thumb, or finger tip, or the meat of his big toes. A different location each time (have to give the others time to heal completely before revisiting old ground), and then he could feel what they felt as his knife parted their skin to separate the flesh beneath in thirsty red furrows. He wanted that soupçon of flavor; that pale taste of what they were to feel before his shallow, talismanic slice stopped bleeding into his leather glove, or his black running shoes. Before his own small cut scabbed over, another of his enemies would be butchered and chosen parts parceled for special things.
How he got to where he was on the mental health scale is hardly a story worth recalling. Mundane as all the rest, it was both familiar and possibly touching, depending upon your bent or your perspective, certainly depending upon your career niche; because if you were a psychiatrist he was one thing; a sociologist insisted he was something altogether different, a police investigator would have a more grounded opinion and a politician would have a suitable aggregate of them all. Truly it was a violent and abusive story, painful for those who did hear it, to listen to. Indeed, something should have been done years ago to help him and his brother, my god! What parent would allow those horrors to continue? But nothing was done, because those things simply weren’t done in those days and in those circles of society. The rich had their sanatoriums and the poor had a welfare system that takes children away from one abuser and delivers them into a factory of highly refined and legally sanctioned abuse.
It doesn’t matter, therefore, how he got to where he was, what was immensely intriguing was that it took him so long to snap and lose what sanity he clung to throughout his childhood and early adult life. It must have been due to his high intelligence and hopeful innocence that he suppressed his real nature for so many years, and wore the face of normalcy those who knew him came to expect and admire. His inner belief that somewhere there was a god who would lift the waves of suffering and reward them with a blanket of balm was his central sustaining pillar. And one night that crumbled with a cerebral crack and his eyes opened to a clear moon glow, a sharp contrasting clarity that peeled his vision of that unnecessary layer of human warmth. He saw winter ice and craved to press his body heat to its sharp bite. He went insane.
And that was ten years ago...
Stay tuned to Writer's Cramp for a whole new look.
But this is our Hallowe'en Issue and we have all new stories and poetry dedicated to chilling your spine, whipping the wet wind round your heart and giving you those troubled nights you love so well.